Craigmore Sustainables to invest $52 million in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay

Craigmore Sustainables is to invest $52 million in two horticulture developments in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay following approval from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO)

The company has purchased two parcels of land, Glenpark Orchard in Gisborne, and Springhill in central Hawke’s Bay.

As a result of the investment, almost 100 full-year jobs are expected to be created alongside a $30 million boost in exports.

Glenpark is in its third season cultivating Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes in the small existing vineyard, with the remaining 46.1 ha planted with annual crops of squash.  Craigmore Sustainables will plant 16 ha with apples next year and the balance in the following year.

The second project approved by the OIO is a 130 ha development in Central Hawke’s Bay, which will be converted from pastoral farming and annual cropping into apples.  These apples will help local apple exporters to grow their businesses alongside the new development, and has been welcomed by local growers.

The new orchard business will also include significant housing development for employees and the restoration of native vegetation to enhance biodiversity.

“We welcome the approval from the Overseas Investment Office,” says Craigmore Sustainables CEO Che Charteris.

“The approval criteria are now much more challenging than previously and successful applications need to show a material commitment and benefit to Aotearoa.

“Our strategy is to build a diversified business of the best of New Zealand orchards across a range of fruits for which New Zealand already has an established reputation and markets, including kiwifruit, apples and wine grapes, along with emerging crops such as cherries, citrus and avocados.

“With these acquisitions, Craigmore Sustainables will be converting more pastoral land into orchards than anyone else in Aotearoa, bringing with it a surge in regional jobs and exports across key regions such as Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) and Te Tai Rāwhiti (Poverty Bay/East Coast).”

A real local point of difference is that Craigmore Sustainables has built a labour solutions business in Gisborne over the past five years – Coxco Labour Solutions, says Mr Charteris, who is of Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa descent and lives in Whakatāne.

“This business aims to create long-term jobs from seasonal opportunities across different fruit and farm sectors.  The business employs hundreds of people per month from Wairoa to Ruatoria, almost all of whom are locals and 70% are of Ngāti Porou descent.   Craigmore Sustainables is actively addressing issues of under-employment in the regions, and building people-sustainable horticultural businesses.”

Craigmore Sustainables is a New Zealand owned and controlled business, established to help fund development and grow regional New Zealand food and fibre businesses.

“Even though we use predominanlty European funding sources, we do so under the complete control of Kiwis who live in the communities where the money is spent,” says Mr Charteris

“Very simply, the Craigmore Sustainables team controls decisions from the staples we use in the posts to the appointment of the board of directors.

“These two projects are a great example of how Craigmore Sustainables invests offshore capital, under New Zealand control and kaitiaki, for the benefit of our regions.”